Wednesday, 13 February 2013

On Smooth Edits

This is totally how I'm feeling right now. 

After finishing my chunky edits, I've spent this week working through what I call smooth edits - those tweaky, niggly little edits which demand fresh eyes I don't have after reading and slashing and splicing my poor MS a bajillion times. This is what smooth edits look like for me:

Going through the tiny notebook - this means smoothing out all those little plot/world-building gripes I spotted during the chunkies, making sure everything ties together and makes some kind of logical sense.

Character studies - I do mini-character studies for each of my important/main characters. I do this now rather than while working on the first draft because I know them better now, know what motivates them and how they're likely to behave. This exercise helps to flesh them out further, to pick out the points where I've coerced them into acting in a way which is out of character. Then I fix them (or try).

Line edits - I generally do two rounds. The first I do on-screen before I send out to betas. The second I will do after I've had their feedback and made any changes, and this one will involve a full print-out with coloured highlighters and sticky notes. I know, I am the scourge of treekind. But I do recycle.

CPs and the beta rounds - I'll be sending out my MS to 2 rounds of betas (this will be 5 or 6 CPs). Having two separate reads helps me to see if I've fixed any problems the first round of readers picked up on, and still have fresh eyes to spot further issues. I also don't like to ask my CPs to beta the same MS for me twice unless I really have to - I don't want them to get bored reading my stuff!

So this is where I am right now - about to send my MS out to my CPs. Hopefully they'll like it!

Do you go through 'smooth edits'? Do they differ from mine? Please share!


  1. These sound like really cool ideas, I'll have to give them a try when the time comes :)

    I'm SO HAPPY to be reading this!!!

  2. This is my first kick at the can for anything longer than a 10,000 word short story. I've been trying to follow the Sweeping/Sifting/Sticky model that's outlined in various places.

    Well I've just finished a Sweeping/Sifting Revision... Which are supposed to be different passes where you do Plot and Characters separate from Dialog and Narrative, but I found I couldn't go through one without at least making a pass at the other.

    I imagine my next pass will be a Sifting/Sticky Revision, because, well, that's what I have left... I'm about to try and track down some CPs before I dig into the Sifting/Sticky pass.

    In looking at your Chunky/Smooth (Peanut Butter) style I may give it a go the next time round as it seems to fit more with what I've done.

    1. I haven't heard of the Sweeping/Sifting/Sticky model, lol! I hope my peanut butter method works out if you do try it. This will be the third MS I've done this way, and it seems to work for me, but all writers work differently. :)


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